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The grammar-interaction interface of negative questions in Estonian
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages.
2009 (English)In: SKY Journal of Linguistics, ISSN 1456-8438, Vol. 22, 139-173 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Grammatically negative questions have been considered tricky because out of context it is basically impossible to predict whether they are conducive of a positive or negative answer (e.g. Sadock and Zwicky 1985). Furthermore, some of them convey reverse polarity affirmations rather than ask for information (Koshik 2002). The current study looks systematically at all negative polar questions found in Estonian spoken language corpora and shows that in actual usage, they are predominantly conducive of a confirming answer. However, a confirming answer may in some cases be either in a positive or negative form. Conduciveness of a negative question as well as its linguistic format depend on the action the question implements in a conversational sequence. The paper shows that each of the five negative question formats in Estonian regularly implement different kinds of social action ranging from challenging and topic initiation to requests for information and confirmation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Helsinki: Suomen kielitieteellinen yhdistys , 2009. Vol. 22, 139-173 p.
Keyword [en]
interactional linguistics, negative questions, conduciveness, action sequence, question format, Estonian
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-120738OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-120738DiVA: diva2:303929
Available from: 2010-03-16 Created: 2010-03-16 Last updated: 2011-04-07Bibliographically approved

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